Magic Number: 2

So here’s the deal:

The Phillies can clinch the NL East championship tonight, if they beat the Cardinals and the Mets beat the Braves.

I say, why wait?

Elias Sports Bureau passed along some pretty good stats and such from yesterday’s doubleheader:

  • Cliff Lee has allowed only four earned runs in 64 2/3 innings in his last eight starts. His 0.56 ERA during that stretch is the lowest ERA by a pitcher over any eight-start span in one season in Phillies history and the lowest by a pitcher on any team since 2002, when Pedro Martinez had a 0.47 ERA for the Red Sox over eight starts from July 1-Aug. 10.
  • Ryan Howard ended a 0-for-16 slump with a walk-off double in the 10th inning in Game 2. Howard’s 0-for-16 was the second-longest slump of his career. He went hitless in 23 consecutive at-bats May 14-20.
  • Kyle Kendrick allowed only one run and two hits while striking six batters and issuing no walks in five innings to pick up the win in Game 1. Kendrick has five wins as a starting pitcher this season (one in May, June, July, August and September) and in those five wins he’s given up only three runs and 19 hits in 32 innings, with no more than one run allowed in any one of those wins.

Cliff, we felt your pain last night when you served up that solo homer to Jose Lopez with two strikes, two outs and nobody on the top of the ninth inning in Game 2. We especially felt it in in the pressbox, where the writers had some pretty sweet game stories almost finished. But we’re not mad at you. You’ve kept game times under 3 hours for most of the season, and we’re deeply grateful for that.

As an aside, there was a pretty incredible rainbow that popped up behind the ballpark in between games of the doubleheader. This is a great photo above, but it doesn’t really do it justice. There actually was a bit of a double rainbow for a few minutes, which had me wondering how Double Rainbow Guy is doing.


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Cliff had a little brain cramp last night. Though disappointing, it was good to happen then and not in a playoff game. Our Phils are so awesome! Let’s win the next 3 and wrap up our home field advantage.

Bullpen’s making me real nervous, heading into the playoffs. John Mayberry Jr. may be the biggest under-the-radar story on the Phils this year. When is the last time the Phils’ farm system produced a bona fide hitter? I can’t think of anyone since the emergence of Howard, Utley, Burrell, Rollins, and Ruiz? I guess the Phils didn’t draft JMJ, but I’m just saying . . . . .

Thanks to Raul’s diving catch for the 2nd out in the 9th or it would have been a loss for Cliff Lee. Go Phils!

I was at last night’s game. All my friends, watching it on TV, said how disappointed they were when Cliff lost his shutout. How do they think all 45,000 of us, at the park, felt?! Heartbreaking!
I saw the double rainbow, too! Gorgeous!!!!!

I think when Lee gave up that HR it one of the most heartbreaking moments of the season. Several players gave him a pat on the back to let him know what a great job he did. Nice to see Howard get the walk-off hit and for it not to go further than 1 extra inning.

The players should have been apologizing to him. Cliff should have gotten the win last night, but the offense couldn’t manage more than one run off a pitcher making his first MLB start.

That might have been Cliff’s Cy Young hopes going over the left field wall. He’ll probably get 2 more starts, but it seems that the uninformed voters are lining up to give the Most Valuable Pitcher Award to Clayton Kershaw, pitching for a team that hasn’t played a meaningful game since Memorial Day.

Oh well, there are bigger fish to fry – namely the Brewers, Diamondbacks and … Yankees.

I’m sure Chooch wanted that high pitch much higher. It’s not in Cliff Lee’s DNA to purposely throw a ball out of the strikezone and last night that cost him ;o(

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